Why women’s libido declines with age

The number of women who regularly have sex decreases with age, and the number of women who benefit from sex after menopause is even lower.

To explain the causes of these declines, previous research has focused primarily on biological causes. However, a British study identified psychosocial factors.

The study results were published online in the scientific journal Menopause, (the journal of the North American Menopause Society). It’s hard to read a women’s magazine or obstetrics and gynecology journal without reading an article about how and why a woman’s libido and level of sexual satisfaction decline during and after menopause.

Psychosocial, self-image, well-being issues

Extensive research has therefore been carried out into the biological reasons such as hot flashes, sleep disturbances, vaginal dryness and painful intercourse. Much less is known about the effects of various psychosocial changes that are common after menopause.

These include issues related to body image, self-confidence and perceived desirability, stress, mood swings and relationship issues. Most of the research that has been done on psychological influences has focused on quantitative findings. A study of nearly 4,500 postmenopausal women taking part in the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening, however, looked at qualitative data to better understand how the women felt.

Biological and relational factors

Among other things, UKCTOCS data on sexual activity showed that at baseline, before annual screening began, around half of women were sexually active. A decrease in all aspects of sexual activity was observed over time: sexual activity was less frequent, less pleasurable and more uncomfortable. The main reason for the lack of sexual activity is the absence of a partner, mainly due to widowhood.

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State of health and perception of aging

Other frequently cited reasons for decreased physical activity include (in order of importance):

  • – the state of health of the partner,
  • -his sexual dysfunction,
  • – women’s physical health problems,
  • – symptoms related to menopause and prescribed medications.
  • -Relationship issues and perception of aging most often contributed to low libido.

Only 3% of participants described positive sexual experiences, while only 6% sought medical help for sexual problems.

Partner Factors

“Sexual health problems are common in women as they age, and partner-related factors play an important role in women’s sexual activity and satisfaction, including the absence of a partner, sexual dysfunction of partner, poor physical health of a partner, and relationship issues,” says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, Medical Director of NAMS. “In addition, menopause-related issues like vaginal dryness and pain associated with intercourse have been identified as issues affecting sexual function, but few women seek treatment for these issues, despite the existence of effective treatments. she adds.

Sexual functioning in 4,418 postmenopausal women participating in UKCTOCS: a qualitative free-text analysis. Menopause, North American Menopause Society (NAMS)


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